Archaeological Museum of Bologna

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Collections / Ricerca / Etruscan Collection: Villanovan phase (900-680 B.C.)

Male's grave goods, Benacci-Caprara Tomb 39

The tomb structure was typical of the richer Bolognese Villanovan burials: a bronze plate biconical ossuary with lavish grave goods, laid in a large square trench, sealed with several layers of pebbles; a stone marker identified the site on the surface.

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The striking grave goods reflect the status of the wealthy deceased aristocrat. Worth noting are several groups of items closely linked to his rank and prestige. The bronze harness elements and pins, and iron hub pins suggesting a wagon in perishable material, indicate that the deceased possessed a vehicle that only an aristocrat would have. The weapon selection includes axes and a bronze sword. Apart from an axe with a narrower blade, which is probably symbolic, all the other weapons are ritually broken. In Bologna the bronze sword is found in just a few male tombs and is especially prestigious, reserved for a small group of aristocrats who played a leading military role in their lifetime.
Bronze plate and earthenware is lavish, alluding to a banquet celebration: the situla, the beaker and the small bottle-shaped dippers are related to the consumption of wine, while the large bronze knife is probably linked to a sacrificial concept and ritual carving of meats. Wine and meat were key to the aristocratic table as their consumption was an element of an elite way of life.

Provenance: Bologna, Benacci-Caprara necropolis, tomb 39
Datation: 750-720 BC

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